The beauty of Israel is slain (William Billings)

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  • (Posted 2015-02-20)  CPDL #34627:       
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2015-02-20).   Score information: Letter, 6 pages, 185 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Oval note edition.

General Information

Title: The beauty of Israel is slain

Composer: William Billings
Source of text: 2 Samuel 1:19,20,23-27a

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredAnthem

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1781 in The Psalm-Singer's Amusement
Description: Published in The Psalm-Singer's Amusement, 1781, pp. 16-21. Words adapted by Billings from 2 Samuel, Chapter 1.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places.
How are the mighty fallen!
Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
Lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,
Lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.
Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives,
And in their death they were not divided.
They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.
Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights,
Who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel.
How are the mighty fallen!
O Jonathan, O Jonathan,
Very pleasant hast thou been unto me.
Thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.
How are the mighty fallen!